Sunday 11 March 2012

Pelagic Results and birding ABC's

Yesterdays pelagic started great but quickly withered down once we got away from the islands.

The most exciting ten minutes involved a distant flock of birds that were flying in 'tight formation'. We all assumed they were waders based on the number of birds and formation of flight. To prove us wrong the flock changed direction and headed straight for us and some of them even landed on a buoy. It was a flock of Terns (at least 100 birds in the flock). I've never seen a flock of terns flying like that before so I (and the others) assume they were actively migrating.
The flock included the 3 main species we saw that day: Little Terns, Lesser Crested Terns and Black-naped Terns.

1 of the many Little Terns in that flock:

Near the end of the day we had a small group of Lesser Crested Terns on another buoy:

The darker outer primaries on the middle bird indicate that it is a first winter bird:

LC Tern:

We did see 3 Aleutian Terns, it was a less than satisfying look and not enough time to take a photo. Still nice to see though. One of them was in breeding plumage - ready to go back to Alaska or Siberia, a flight of over 10000km.

This morning I joined a local birder for the ABC (Annual Bird Census) at Singapore Botanic Gardens. It was a good day, nothing terribly interesting showed up but one tardy tick (a common bird I should have seen a while ago) helped me see my 700th life bird! It was a Grey-rumped Treeswift.

They're good looking fellas, although I never did get to see it this well:
Photo from here